This submission comes from Claire1976 and is a follow-up to her previously published story, "Afterglow." It's not totally necessary to read it to understand this one, but if you haven't already, I suggest you check it out because it is worth a read and a nice lead-up to this one. Enjoy!
Leia was momentarily distracted by the distinctive whoosh of the apartment's door, as Han entered the living room.
"I wasn't expecting you back yet," she called from the kitchen, the surprise evident in her voice. She peered into the adjoining room, catching Han as he swiftly removed his blue jacket and tossed it onto a nearby chair.
She could tell immediately by the sour expression on his face that he probably hadn't had a very good afternoon at the reconditioning bay. Following their recent mission to the planet Tatooine to retrieve the painting Killik Twilight, the Falcon was in need of serious repair, and had spent the past seven weeks in the care of the New Republic's best mechanics, very much to Han's disdain. He would rather have undertaken the job himself, but since deciding to start a family, he and Leia were devoting most of their spare time to the more important task at hand. But several times a week he would pay a visit to the reconditioning bay to check on how things were progressing.
"Well I thought I would call it a day and head back," he grumbled as he flung himself heavily onto the cream coloured couch. "Besides, the Dreadnaughts are playing later tonight," he added as he began taking off his boots.
Han reached out to the small, ornate glass table in front of him, and picked up the holo tube remote control, flicking it on as he settled back into the comfortable couch. He gave a weary sigh and ran his fingers through his thick brown hair. "Leia, remind me never to trust those goons with the Falcon again," he called out.
Leia exited the kitchen area and glided over to the couch. Han felt his jaw drop slightly as he absorbed the glorious sight of her. She was dressed in a shimmering royal blue gown that fitted in all the right places, tight round her hips and low cut to her breasts, and maybe, just maybe, a little bit see-through, unless his tired eyes were starting to play tricks on him. Her beautiful long, chestnut hair was plaited in a thick braid that hung down over her left shoulder.
The lopsided grin didn't take long to make an appearance. "You look...gorgeous," he said with a twinkle in his eye. Leia just smiled as she leaned in to give him a kiss that lingered perhaps longer than she had first intended it to.
As their lips parted the grin was quickly replaced with a frown, followed by a look of total bemusement. "What's the occasion? I don't get it. Did I miss somethin'?"
Leia took a seat next to him, a devilish gleam in her eyes. "No, but I missed something."
His frown became more intense as his confusion grew. What exactly did she mean by that? Probably nothing Han thought, and for a moment they just looked at each other. Han broke the silence. "Anyway, as I was saying, damn fools, they don't know one end of a hydro spanner from the other."
"I don't think I want to know," Leia said with a sigh.
"Trust me, sweetheart, you don't."
"But, I get the impression you're just going to tell me anyway, right? And then, I have something I need to tell you," she said with a smile.
"Really? That's great...but listen, the entire aft stabiliser is just screwed. I don't know what in the nine Corellian Hells they did to it, but it was practically hanging right off. Seriously, Leia, I couldn't believe it. Seven weeks of this Bantha crap, and for what?"
"Well, we needed the time together." Leia pointed out.
"I know, and I ain't complainin' about that," Han reassured her with a wistful smile.
His mind was quickly filled with brief flashes of all the times they had made love over the past seven weeks. In the bedroom, on the floor, in the 'fresher, the hot tub, Leia's office after everyone had gone home, on the kitchen table, and countless times on this very couch. Their sex life had always been healthy, but trying for a baby had most definitely given it a renewed vigour that even he didn't think was humanly possible. It was more urgent somehow, more meaningful, and they simply couldn't get enough of each other. It was no wonder Han was so tired, and Leia had complained about trying to conceal her weary yawns from the beady eye of Mon Mothma during provisional council meetings. Neither of them had been getting much sleep, but gods, it had been so much fun. Well, apart from the one occasion when Luke had made an unscheduled visit to their apartment and found them deep in the throes of passion on the living room floor. Han thought that Jedi were supposed to be able to see things through the Force ahead of time, but clearly that wasn't always the case. He didn't know who was the more embarrassed, them or Luke. But he later made sure to get the access codes changed, to prevent anything like that happening again.
"Anyway, as I was saying. The aft stabiliser, hanging off real good. I could see that from several feet away. So I grab the tool kit and take a closer look. The kriffing thing just falls off in my hand, I barely even touched it, it wasn't my fault! I knew it was a bad idea getting those clowns to do the reconditioning. Maybe I should have listened to you and used the military repair droids."
Leia tried hard to stifle her snigger, "So you're saying that maybe for once Han Solo was wrong about something?"
"Oh come on, sweetheart, you know I don't trust droids."
"But, I was right?" It was more of a statement than a question. She raised an eyebrow and gave him "the look". A look he knew all too well. A look that told him you don't mess with Leia Organa Solo.
He then had little choice but to yield. "Ahh, you were right...I guess I should have used the droids."
Leia couldn't hide her laughter.
"But, as I always say, things only get done right if you do it yourself. I should have checked up on them a bit more often. Letting these, well, kids, who know next to nothing about anything recondition your ship, it doesn't pay off."
"Well, I know one bit of reconditioning that has definitely paid off." Leia said, shifting a little closer to him.
"How the hell am I going to explain this to Chewie? I've got to go collect him from Kashyyyk one week from today. How can I do that with no aft stabiliser?"
"Do you know how long it takes to secure an aft stabiliser? This is just what I don't need right now. It's not my fault."
"Han, I'm pregnant."
"It's not my fault.."
"It damn well is flyboy, and you know it!!" Maybe that came out a little harsher than she intended, Leia thought, but she had been trying to tell him the good news since he had returned home, but Han being Han wasn't picking up on any of her hints. When the Falcon was in jeopardy, it was hard to get any sense out of him.
Han's eyes suddenly grew wide. "Um, what? What did you say?"
"I said it's your fault and you know it."
"No, no, right before that bit."
"I'm pregnant." Leia repeated, her radiant smile lighting up the room.
"Yes, really," she said, reaching out and squeezing his hand. "You were right. It didn't take us long."
"I'm gonna be a daddy?" Han said, all thoughts of the disastrous reconditioning on the Falcon quickly dissolving as he tried to make sense of those words that sounded so alien in his ears.
"You're going to be a daddy," Leia reaffirmed.
The dumbfounded look on his face reminded Leia of the moment in the fern dell on Endor five years earlier when she had finally revealed to him that Luke was her brother. She fondly remembered his stunned, almost childlike expression and how she had then placed her hand to his face and drawn him in for a kiss. And she now did the same. Gently cupping his cheek she pulled him slowly towards her and pressed his lips against her own. He returned her kiss, softly at first, then with more and more fervour, until they were both lost in the moment.
"How long have you known about this?" Han asked, when their lips finally parted. He took her hand from his face and held it tightly within both of his.
"I just found out today. I planned on telling you over dinner, but I just couldn't wait that long." Han could see the tears welling in her dark eyes, as her smile grew broader. Now it was his turn to reach out and frame her perfect face in his hand, his thumb catching the solitary tear as it rolled down her cheek. "I'm so happy".
He returned her smile, "Me too," he whispered, wiping the tear away. "See, told you my blaster would be fully charged."
"Your blaster is always fully charged, hotshot." Leia laughed.
She snuggled up against him, her head resting against his shoulder, and he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into his strong embrace. Han's mind raced, imaging them as parents. It just seemed beyond comprehension to him, and yet somehow, so undeniably perfect. Would they have a boy, or a girl? Who would they look like? Han pictured a cheeky young boy with messy brown hair, familiar lopsided grin and eyes sparkling with trouble. Then a pretty little girl with big brown eyes and long chestnut hair, holding a cuddly wookiee toy. He smiled proudly at the thought. He would teach his son to fly the Falcon someday and how to shoot. And his daughter, well, she would be spoiled rotten and would never ever have anything whatsoever to do with boys. Daddy's little girl. Yeah, he liked the sound of that.
"I love you, nerfherder," Leia said softly.
For a long moment they just remained there in the comfort of each other's arms, just content to be close, and savouring the touch of the other. Han breathed in deeply, letting the exquisite smell of Leia's sweet perfume tantalise his nose. "You smell really great, y'know," he whispered into her hair.
"It's that perfume you bought me for my birthday," Leia replied.
"Picked a good one then," Han said with a smug grin. He closed his eyes, enjoying the luxurious smell a little longer.
"So are we having dinner?" Leia wondered.
Han was glad that Leia couldn't see the horrified look on his face at that moment. "You didn't cook, did you?"
"Well, I wouldn't want to ruin the evening, now would I? I had something brought in, it's just warming now. It's probably almost done." She stood up, pulling him with her and started to move toward the kitchen.
Han held back, letting go of her hand. She turned to him. "What's wrong?"
"I've gotta comm the reconditioning bay. I just thought of some parts they're gonna have to order for me. But these," he said, jabbing a finger at his own chest, "I'll be fitting myself."
Leia frowned, "It can wait until after dinner, Han. Now come on."
"Nah, this is important."
"A little baby seat with it's very own crash webbing. Gotta be prepared, sweetheart," Han said with a wink.
Thanks for the submission, Claire! To the rest of you, remember, there are no deadlines. And we also have several other challenges waiting to be answered so don't be shy about submitting!